Debates are bound to happen from time to time. It’s part of the fabric of societal interaction. People are bound to disagree if they have opinions and ideas. This clash of ideas can arise due to a misunderstanding, tangle of personal relationships, or variance of strongly held opinions.
This disagreement could be among family members, relatives, colleagues at work, or even strangers at the car park. Since we can’t avoid conflicts, it is important to find a way to resolve them. How a conflict is handled can make a difference in a once cordial relationship between couples, colleagues, friends, or associates.
Various communication and conflict resolution techniques have proven useful to managers, teachers, and several individuals in handling conflicts over the years.
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Merits of Conflict Resolution
Suppose we have to move on and have healthy friendships and relationships. In that case, we need to learn effective conflict resolution abilities and apply them to conflicts that might arise in our families, workplaces, and social groups. The lack of conflict resolution skills can lead to poor handling of conflicts. A poorly handled conflict can cost time and money in business organizations and impair social interaction among family, peers, and friends.
In many cases, conflicts arise due to poor communication and ignorance of how to engage in civil discourse. Co-workers or friends may not know how to express their ideas or communicate their strongly held opinions civilly and without being aggressive.
Some people believe that their opinions should be held as facts and shouldn’t be contested or challenged. This wrong kind of mindset might have been learned from a querulous guardian, or it might have resulted from unchecked temperament. But that’s not how we can achieve civil discourse or societal progress. Opinions and ideas should always be politely questioned, debated, and disagreed – that’s how society grows.
Nevertheless, it’s important to equip ourselves with the skills necessary to handle a conflict, and below are five techniques you can use to resolve a conflict.
Five Conflict Resolution Techniques
1.Tackle issues promptly
When there’s conflict among your friends, family members, or co-workers, it’s best to address it instantly so that it can be resolved when it hasn’t gone deep. The mistake many people make is that they ignore conflict or try to avoid it so as not to get entangled in the disagreement.
This sort of behavior depicts a complete lack of conflict resolution skills. Avoiding the conflict only allows it to simmer or even develop into fights.
To nip a conflict in the bud, you must be fair, honest, and open. Ask open-ended questions and let the person in the wrong apologize.
2.Establish clear rules
Establishing a guideline that everyone is expected to abide by is important. For companies, it might be a chain of communication that should be followed, where complaints should be taken to your line manager, and so on.
It might be a set of rules for peer groups and friends, like no interruption, no personal attacks, etc. This way, all the participants will know what is expected of them, and civil discourse will be more fun and fruitful.
Many social groups and companies already have some form of these guidelines.
But what’s the point of a rule if it is not enforced? It’s important to ensure that nobody flaunts the set rules.
Active listening might appear minimal or even be neglected, but it greatly influences how a conflict starts. Yes, you’re hearing what your friend or colleague is saying but are you actively listening?
Our minds usually wander during conversations and discussions. Either we’re thinking of the right response or just lost in thought. Active listening, which is listening with full attention to the speaker and responding accordingly, has been neglected, leading to misunderstandings and disagreements. How can you honestly agree or disagree if you’re not actively listening to what someone is saying?
To improve civil interaction in our workplaces, schools, social groups, and family, we need to learn how to engage in civil discourse, listen actively, and handle conflicts.
In a heated argument, we’re often tempted to shut everyone off. Not only is this not helpful in resolving the conflict, but it might also result in the participants shouting and getting more aggressive.
Here, it’s important to get the two contending groups or individuals together, remain calm, and allow them to cool off. Your calmness might elicit a relaxed conversation, which could resolve the conflict. Use positive body language and neutral terms to indicate a willingness to end the conflict. Pick your words carefully.
5.Acknowledge personal differences
In families, workplaces, and social groups, we interact with people of different temperaments, cultures, viewpoints, and ideas. So something that might be funny in one culture might be offensive in another. Recognizing this can go a long way in preventing conflicts from starting up.
If people recognize that what they consider a difference in viewpoint or opinion can affect someone from another culture, they might be inclined to word their sentences better, be more considerate, and learn how to engage in civil discourse.
Conflict resolution skills are not some special abilities reserved for select individuals or team managers. Anyone can learn and apply these techniques to improve the quality of their relationships with others.